The life and works of William Cullen Bryant
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74
THE BOY POET AND POLITICIAN.
the county of Hampshire, and in the month of November last arrived
at the age of fourteen years. These facts can be authenticated by
many of the inhabitants of that place, as well as by several of his
friends who give this notice ; and, if it be deemed worthy of further
inquiry, the printer is enabled to disclose their names and places of
residence. February, 1809. & quot;
As the writer had now put his name in full to the title-
page, he thought it advisable to prefix also a Preface, in the
approved style of authorship. He said :
& quot; PREFACE.
& quot; The first sketch of the following poem appeared when the terra
pin policy of our administration, in imposing the embargo, exhibited
undeniable evidence of its hostility to commerce, and proof positive
that its political character was deeply tinctured with an unwarrant
able partiality for France.
& quot; Since that time our political prospects are daily growing more
and more alarming the thunders of approaching ruin sound louder
and louder & & & faction and falsehood exert themselves with increas
ing efforts to accelerate the downfall of our country.
& quot; Should the candid reader find anything in the course of the
work sufficiently interesting to arrest his attention, it is presumed he
will not grudge the trouble of laboring through a few inequalities/
a few * flat and prosaic passages/ *
& quot; The poem is intended merely as a sketch of the times. The
nice distinctions, the adequate proportions, the light and shade which
give life and beauty to the picture, require some maturer and more
skillful hand.
& quot; The writer is far from thinking that all his errors are expunged,
or all his faults corrected. Indeed, were that the case, he is suspi
cious that the composition would cease to be his own.
& quot; Fair criticism he does not deprecate. He will consider the in
genuous and good-natured critic as a kind of schoolmaster, and will
endeavor to profit by his lessons.
& quot; CUMMINGTON, October 25, 1808. & quot;
* A slight fling at his critic of the & quot; Anthology. & quot;
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